Parlor is temporarily closed for remodeling...so they say. Phone is disconnected.
Formerly: As Wicker Park artists make way for BMWs and baby buggies, Parlor American appears with a similar mix of traditional fare and upscale aspirations. Call the concept high-end home-style, and call it popular, as the restaurant does brisk business in Soju's old location.
At first glance the menu reads like Country Kitchen 101, with hearty classics like meatloaf, burgers, mac and cheese and pork and beans. Keep reading though and discover such scintillating selections as broiled tomatoes, chilled mint cucumber soup and a pan-roasted chicken breast dressed in blueberries and sprinkled with spiced pecans. A hefty filet mignon in veal sauce practically melts before it hits the mouth, and the double-cut, smoked pork chop bathed in cherry brandy sauce sweetly surpasses all expectations. Doughnut fans swear by the revamped comfort food classic of Krispy Kreme bread pudding, but for a real experiment in dapper down-home, try chasing those chicken and waffles with one of Parlor's 50 wines.
Arrive before your dinner reservation and slide over to the small bar up front serving drinks strong enough to curl your teeth while smooth Motown mixes glide between the exposed brick walls. The contemporary look steeped in deep brown hues and muted tans still flaunts a few low-rent flourishes like corduroy banquettes, an open kitchen and paper lined tabletops a la your local barbecue joint.
A word of warning: Parlor is casual dining minus the casual price. Dishes average around $17 and drinks, appetizers and entrees for two could easily cost a cool $90. Rest assured, the food is worth it, and knowledgeable servers wait patiently while you ponder. The small space crowds quickly so make a reservation for meat and potatoes served with a side of style.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Foreman